Every year we present the GSMA Government Leadership Award to one government that has implemented best-practice digital policy and telecom regulation to generate positive outcomes in mobile connectivity. The winner will be announced at the GSMA Ministerial Programme during MWC Barcelona. In the following weeks, we will alphabetically present the five shortlisted countries for the 2023 Government Leadership Award. The third nominated country is Tunisia.
In 2021, the Ministry of ICT (MTC) launched the Tunisia National Digital Strategy 2021-2025. It outlined an economic transformation into a sustainable digital ecosystem categorised by eight pillars:
- Legal framework and modern governance
- Social inclusion (including digital and financial)
- Digital infrastructure
- Digital transformation of the public sector
- Data-driven government
- Capacity building and digital culture
- Entrepreneurship development in the digital field
In 2022, the country made considerable advancement in their goals.
Policy or regulatory action
MTC is working on establishing the national 5G roadmap for the future implementation of 5G in the country. This roadmap covers benchmarking of 5G implementation worldwide, best practices, use cases, business plans and risk assessment.
MTC has allowed mobile operators to refarm spectrum used for 2G, 3G and 4G licences. MTC launched the refarming process of the 2.6 GHz band for 4G while studying the use of the 6 GHz band for 5G or WiFi in collaboration with the National Frequency Agency (ANF).
Digital and financial inclusion
After the launch of Mobile ID, MTC, MNOs and the Central Bank are carrying out the legal and technical procedures for setting up the national mobile payment operator.
MTC has succeeded in bringing broadband to 3,307 public schools, using fixed broadband with fibre optic technologies for 95% of schools and microwave technologies for the other 5%.
The ministry has used an ICT fund to finance the mobile coverage of unconnected areas. The project included 94 regions within 15 governorates and offered them data speeds of up to 04 Mbit/s.
MTC promotes e-government services through government portals using the Citizen’s Digital Identity (Mobile-ID) as the authentication tool. The MNOs played a pivotal role in creating a unique ID number generated from the National Citizen Unique Identifier and connecting to the National Certification Authority to allow the creation of electronic certificates needed for online signatures.
The startup ecosystem in Tunisia is booming, with over 800 startups, from AI to biotech, accessing African and European markets and patenting innovative products and services. Notably, 36% of these startups are founded by female entrepreneurs.
The ministry has set up a favourable ecosystem and launched a support program to enable innovative startups to grow and contribute to the competitiveness of the country in the field of disruptive technologies. Tunisia’s Startup Act allows Tunisian startups to receive government incentives, such as safety nets for the founders and tax exemptions.
Why it is a good practice
Tunisia has the ambition of becoming a technological hub in the region by 2030, attracting talent, driving inclusive growth and promoting a better quality of life for all citizens.
To establish the Tunisia National Digital Strategy 2021-2025, MTC has engaged stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as international organisations, in an open and collaborative spirit. The vision is to put digital transformation at the centre of the country’s economic and social development.
The Ministry has always adopted a participatory approach in developing its sector strategy and implementation. Thus, any reform or development of a solution necessarily involves open consultation and the organisation of workshops and forums.